The meal I most eagerly anticipated in Louisville, and the one I enjoyed most, was a quick one at closing time at Proof on Main. Just prior to my travel to Louisville, I was reading Esquire‘s list of best new restaurants for 2008, and saw that Corbett’s (An American Place) was listed. In researching the restaurant, I noticed Proof on Main had garnered the same honor in 2006, and was immediately drawn to their menu. (I hope to get to Corbett’s another time.) The main attraction: Monday’s daily special of Tripe “Parmigiana.” Had to have it!
What I didn’t realize upon entering is that Proof on Main is inside the 21c Museum Hotel. The restaurant itself houses some fascinating contemporary art, but during dinner it’s nice to take a break and stroll through the main museum, which is open 24 hours. (You’ll need to do this, anyway, to get to the bathroom, with the men’s bathroom really something special.) I found the dining room to be upscale and yet comfortable – smart and stimulating.
This is one of those restaurants where solo dining is a detriment, as it’s impossible to try many of the tempting dishes. Also, business matters meant that I couldn’t get there until just before the 10pm closing time, so I didn’t necessarily want to fill up on too much food at that late hour. I had a hunch the tripe would be perfect, and I picked out an order of Brussels sprouts as a side dish. The tripe is boiled for 6-8 hours in water, vanilla bean and vinegar, followed by braising action with San Marzano tomatoes, carrots, onions, red wine and aromatics before being baked a bit at 600 degrees. Very tasty (though not with the tripe texture I typically desire), and served with some fettunta which I used to sop up the sauce.
And the Brussels sprouts were fabulous! They were perfectly cooked, boosted by bacon and a little fruity sweetness. (The kitchen has been using either currants or cranberries.) I loved the dish so much that I tried to replicate it tonight as a side to some roasted chicken and vegetables. Close, but I must be missing some secret ingredient. I’ll work on the recipe, or ask for help. Great restaurants are stimulating and inspiring in this way. I’m thrilled to have had this brief experience at Proof on Main, and recommend it highly while hoping to return myself some day – with more time to see the museum, and perhaps a stay at the hotel!